"The Late Squirrels" by Ellen Marie Bae.

When we found out that Cal State Long Beach was looking for a new nickname/mascot, we could not have been happier. The only thing “49ers” told you about the school is when it was founded (1949).

Now, entering its 70th year, it’s time for a nickname/mascot that reflects what it’s become. And we want YOU to tell us what that is. But please, no lions or tigers or bears, OK? We want a nickname/mascot that reflects the Cal State Long Beach experience: the people, the parking (or lack thereof), the fact that no one will look you in the eye, whatever, we want your names and your images.

To get you started, we’ve asked five terrific illustrators/artists to have a run at it. We’ll release one of their efforts each day this week. Have a look. Be inspired. Send us something. And Go [Nickname To Be Determined]!!!

“The Late Squirrels” by Ellen Marie Bae.

Artist and illustrator Ellen Marie Bae came up with “The Late Squirrels” to help launch the Post’s mascot contest. As one of the most familiar presences on campus, Bae said, “they’re no king of the jungle, but they are adaptable, smart, and have a sense of camaraderie. And not unlike these squirrels, CSULB students are a scrappy and resourceful bunch, too.”

“Prospector Pete was a problematic figure and is rightfully retired from being the mascot for the university,” Bae said. “The students at CSULB should be represented by a character that is more relatable or at least familiar.”

When Bae was a student at the university, she remembers most of her peers having to commute long distances, work multiple jobs to make rent and pull more all-nighters than she could count. She personally struggled with showing up late, where she found herself having to constantly “engage in the parking spot war” only to be turned away from packed campus shuttle buses.

“This would leave me with no choice but to hitch up all my books, bags, and supplies so I could book it uphill on East Campus Drive,” Bae said. “Nothing was smooth sailing during school, but somehow we were all able to succeed in our academic, extracurricular and personal lives despite whatever setbacks we may have had.”

Also a zine maker, Bae’s recent works include collaborations with The Women’s Resource Center at Cal State Dominguez Hills, On She Goes and more. Learn about Bae’s work on Instagram @baecon_bits, Facebook and on her website here.

Submission Requirements
  • Email your digital original or scanned image of your art to [email protected] (file must be in JPG or PNG format, 1200px across).
  • In your email, please include a bio, including your full name, age and what connection, if any, you have to CSULB and a description of your mascot, including its name and how it represents the university.
  • Mail or drop off original artwork or print (no larger than 16″x12″) to the Long Beach Post offices at 211 E. Ocean Boulevard, #400, Long Beach, CA 90802 (thanks to Linco Inc., we will be framing submissions to be displayed and judged by a panel during an art show in January; exact date TBD).
  • All submissions—digital image, physical artwork, artist bio and mascot description—must be turned in on or before Monday, Dec. 31.
  • Any questions? Email [email protected] and/or [email protected].

Disclaimer: The Post’s “CSULB new nickname/mascot contest” is not in partnership with or have any official connection to CSULB. Though we did approach specific artists/illustrators who attend or teach at CSULB about submitting their work and we intend on presenting the best submissions to appropriate parties at CSULB, no one in the CSULB administration has ever been consulted about the creation or conduct of the contest.

Go [Nickname to Be Determined]!!! The Post’s CSULB mascot contest, Day 3